Brown, Rosie - Featured Photos

‘Flip or Flop’ For Company Websites: 3 Tips to Enhance Virtual Curb Appeal

In some ways, a corporate website is like a house. Regardless of whether you inherit a fixer-upper or have one custom-built from scratch, there’s always room for improvement.

Company websites often undergo construction before all the necessities are assembled. And there are usually fixed deadline and budget constraints, so requirements and tasks are subject to continual triage to ensure the whole project launches on time and within scope. The end result is that many company sites stand stripped of important functionality, much less finishing touches.

home improvement, improve websites, website design, website development

“Home Improvement” is still the best DIY home show ever. So, consider this “Tool Time” for websites.

Unlike homes without baseboards or lighting fixtures, websites need certain enhancement to perform with purpose. Here are three quick and essential website retrofits to improve your company site without revisiting the building plans: (more…)

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Typoglycemia and the Perils of the Post

True confession: I often mistype my first name as “Derider” instead of “Deirdre.” The habit formed long before the advent of stored signatures and autocorrect-enabled everything. Working primarily as an editor for the past two decades, this foible has generated no small amount of hilarity for my friends and colleagues — my “secret” evil nature and Freudian typos are the stuff of legend.

I’ve come to peace with my sloppy typing technique, but what continually amazes me is how often I read and re-read a misspelled word and fail to catch the error. It doesn’t happen often when reviewing the work of others, but it happens all the time when I review my own writing. My brain, like yours, has an autocorrect function that mentally fixes or skims past glitches in my prose with remarkable efficiency. While that may be no big deal in a text or email to my sister, it can certainly cause a bit of embarrassment when it comes to professional communications or something as public as a blog post. To spare myself unnecessary humiliation, before I publish a new post, (more…)

Sterling Employee - Keely O'Connor - Featured Photos

The Things You Think You Know

We take National Hot Dog Day pretty seriously.

We take National Hot Dog Day pretty seriously.

Every third Thursday, Sterlingers gather after work for a bit of group bonding and low-key fun. Sometimes we celebrate something silly like National Hot Dog Day, sometimes we play trivia games in a nearby park, sometimes we just shoot the breeze over cheese and crackers. It’s a nice way to blow off steam and catch up with coworkers, it fuels our tight relationships, and it always generates great conversation. This month, our Third Thursday event changed my view of the world.

Our Operations VP sought special permission to hold a movie screening and we invited friends and family to convene at our offices for a group viewing. On September 15th, 2016, we all gathered to watch Equal Means Equal, a documentary that reflects on how women are treated in America.

Coincidentally, on September 15, 1981 — 35 years to the day before we watched the movie —the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman ever to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court (a group formerly known as “the Brethren”). What some folks at the office did not know is that the same Sandra Day O’Connor also happens to be my grandmother.

Every day in my childhood home, I would nonchalantly walk past a photo in the hallway of Grandma with President Ronald Reagan on the day she was sworn in. While the picture is symbolic of a historic stride in women’s march towards equality, for me, it was just a snapshot of the crowning honor in Grandma’s impressive career. (more…)

Brown, Rosie - Featured Photos

Forget Rio, The Best Olympic Games Took Place in Our Parking Lot

While the world was watching Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, and Usain Bolt win gold in Rio, we at Sterling had a little competition of our own — the first annual Sterling Olympics!

Unlike the real Olympics, where global athletes spend years training just to qualify, we decided to keep the actual events under wraps until game time to prevent any competitor from gaining unfair advantage. Our “Olympians” created their own random national teams to compete in the following sports: (more…)

OConnor, Marianne - Featured Photos

Three Lessons I Learned From Starting My Own Company

Once upon a time, there was a 27-year-old woman who worked for a high tech PR agency in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Yep, me.)

I got the opportunity to move to Silicon Valley and open a satellite office for that firm. For my $40,000/year salary, I worked days, nights, and weekends with a staff of 2 to build our west coast client base. At the end of year 1, my operation had generated $18,000 in profit. Not a lot of money, but I was proud of the accomplishment.

Then something unexpected happened. (more…)

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Sure-Fire Tips for Social PR Success

Public relations has always been a social endeavor. Even vendors in old-as-dirt markets understood the importance of spreading the word about town as a way to drive business. After all, those ripe batches of juicy plums weren’t going to sell themselves or improve with age. And, there was always another vendor just up the road, potentially with better prices and fewer bruises on the fruit.

Thanks to technology and digital channels, the social component in PR is now amplified. Online conversations and communities present invaluable opportunities for brands to tap into people’s needs and interests as they raise their visibility. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to cut through all the noise on social channels, not to mention pulling folks away from Pokemon Go.

In a webinar called “Unleashing the Power of Social PR,” Shonali Burke made the point that it’s not enough to communicate your messages, you must build community that you can then motivate to tell your story for you. If you’re wondering how exactly you’re supposed to do that, here are some of the top takeaways from that webinar combined with some best practices we follow here at Sterling. (more…)

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Three Reasons Video Isn’t Just for Marketing Anymore

The data is clear. Video is a must-have component of any modern-day strategic marketing plan. But in case you’ve been stuck with your nose in a paperback book lately, here is some of what we know about the impact of video:

  • 90% of users say that seeing a video about a product helps their decision-making process;
  • 65% of execs visit websites and 39% of them call vendors after viewing a video, according to Forbes; and
  • 80% of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days, says the Online Publisher’s Association

So, given that videos produce such great results, why aren’t we regularly using video more broadly in the organization? That’s the question I asked myself last year. I’ve watched Sterling’s creative team produce beautiful, inspiring, and compelling client videos for years now, and frankly, I was jealous. Silicon Valley is a tight labor market where conveying a sense of corporate culture in within a minute can be a tremendous competitive advantage. So, I pushed for creating a series of employee- and candidate-centered videos. Here’s what we’ve learned from the process so far:

1. A good recruiting video is a great way to attract the right talent in a tight market. If you think about it, marketing to top talent is just as important as marketing to your customers. And, at Sterling, we’re always on the lookout for the right “fit,” not just the right set of skills. A well-produced authentic video that captures and conveys your company culture will definitely set you apart; moreover, it will attract the kind of people who will thrive in your company. As importantly, many poorly suited candidates will self-select out. And, as an added bonus, employees are not just willing, but eager to share fun videos about themselves and their company…so the network effect can be huge. (more…)

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From Scientist to Storyteller: Writing Because You Have To

Photo credit: The Odyssey Online

There are creative and literary types and there are science and math types, and never the twain shall meet…or so we’re often told. But in my neck of the woods, many of the best tales are centered around technology disciplines more heavily populated by those who fall on the less-literary side of that type line. Further, conveying a compelling story about technology without thoroughly understanding how it works or why it’s important is, at best, an exercise in triviality. And there’s the rub. The only people capable of communicating with any depth or authority on the subject are those who are purportedly ill-suited to delivering the message. (more…)

OConnor, Marianne - Featured Photos

10 Tips for Taking the “Work” out of Networking


If you’re like most people, walking into a room of relative strangers—especially without a wingman (or wingwoman)—can be a daunting prospect. Whether scouting for your next job or widening your professional circle, it can take steely resolve to push yourself onto the networking stage and perform. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tried and true tips to help you become a more successful (and less stressed out) networker. (more…)